Military shares love of reading with children

Hundreds of books line tables at the Historic Hickam Officers’ Club.

Story and photos by Tech. Sgt. Heather Redman

15th Wing Public Affairs

Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen gathered at the Historic Hickam Officers’ Club at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to share their love of reading during the Books on Bases event, June 2.

Hosted by Blue Star Families and supported by Disney, the event provided more than 1,500 books to children of military members.

“Books on Bases is a program that impacts children through reading,” said Meghan Wieten-Scott, Blue Star Families consultant. “Since 2009, Blue Star Families has distributed over 140,000 books and impacted over 150,000 military children worldwide.”

Manko Tamaka, Disney Resort ambassador, and U.S. Navy Cmdr. Corey Hurd, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam chief staff officer, read “Tommy Can’t Stop” by Tim Federle.

More than 300 people showed up for the event, which was coordinated by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz, 647th Air Base Group photojournalist.

“I wanted to continue what Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and the 15th Wing did last year, and that’s providing books to children,” Stoltz said. “In today’s world, where millions of kinds have their noses pressed against a screen, my hope is to have them bury it in a book instead. I’m just glad we were able to get the support from Blue Star Families and are able to give back to the community.”

The event began with Cmdr. Corey Hurd, JBPHH chief staff officer, speaking about how reading can help families cope with the stress of military life.

“Reading together as a family has several benefits,” Hurd said.

“Losing yourself in a book not only helps you deal with the stress of moving but also helps build fond memories that you and your families can carry with you throughout the years.”

During the event, Hurd, along with Manko Tamaka, Disney Resort ambassador, read “Tommy Can’t Stop” by Tim Federle.

Afterwards , attendees browsed stacks of books, and thanks to a donation from Disney, chose up to five books to take home. The children were also given a plush toy, and had a surprise visit from Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

“Military life is not easy but we signed up for this lifestyle. Our children did not,” Stoltz said. “All the family time we miss due to deployments and temporary duty assignments can take a toll on our children. This is our way of thanking our families for their support.”

Blue Star Families program donates books to military children, base libraries, Department of Defense schools, and military-impacted public schools and libraries across the world.

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Category: News